The benefits of e-signatures are undeniable—and independent agents play a large role in convincing their carrier partners to join the initiative.
According to a case study by Silanis, one e-signature provider counts eight of the top 15 North American insurers as clients.
A quick poll of AUGIE leaders found a couple dozen carriers accepting e-signatures—and failed to find any carrier that prohibits them. That’s probably because federal laws, as well as laws in nearly every state, put e-signatures on equal footing with pen-and-paper signatures.
In short, e-signature functionality is gaining serious traction in the insurance business. Why? Customer expectations, advanced technology, increased mobility, a quest for greater efficiency—the list goes on.
E-signature solutions equip carriers to provide the best service possible, directly and through their customer and agent service centers. And independent agents play a large role in convincing carrier partners to jump on the e-signature bandwagon.
Here are just a few benefits that might help you spread the word that e-signatures are vital to the industry’s future:
E-signatures save money while increasing productivity and quality. According to case studies, e-signatures netted one carrier a cost savings of $10 per transaction and offset millions of dollars of paper-related expenses; boosted another’s productivity by 61%; and reduced another’s document errors by 81.6%.
E-signatures boost revenue. E-signatures reduce the time it takes for agents and brokers to get customers to complete and sign applications—especially when those customers are busy or far from an agency. The quicker they sign, the quicker both carriers and agents can book revenue. Think transacting business in minutes, rather than days.
E-signatures satisfy agents, brokers and customers. According to Intellicap research, users of Big “I”-endorsed e-signature provider DocuSign can reduce paperwork turnaround time by 13.5 days—that’s a 97% time savings. Plus, e-signatures extend agency and carrier offices to the nearest computer, tablet or smartphone. Faster service means more satisfied clients—and more referrals. And that creates happier, more loyal agents and brokers.
E-signatures enhance security and authentication. Mailing or faxing documents carries inherent security risks if important papers wind up in the wrong hands or get lost. E-signature software that adheres to the legal standard of validating identity, consent, disclosure and audit record characteristics provides far greater security.
E-signatures have the law on their side. "Simply stated, yes, e-signatures are legal at all times (E-SIGN and UETA make this so), with only a handful of exceptions, one of which is wills,” according to ACORD.
The Big “I” Agents for Technology (ACT) Technology Agreements Work Group will address e-signatures as a part of its upcoming paper on “Carrier/Agent Technology Agreements Recommendations”. ACORD also has a working group devoted to e-signatures, AUGIE leaders actively support and promote the work and management system vendors are working with providers to bring e-signatures to agent and broker desktops.
ACT is happy to connect you with representatives from any of these organizations. For more information, email Ron Berg, executive director of ACT, for more information, or consider reviewing ACT’s article ”Guidelines for E-Signature and E-Delivery of Documents,” which references an ACORD-driven summary of the legal requirements applicable to using electronic signatures, electronic records and electronic delivery in the insurance business.
Ron Berg is executive director of the Big “I” Agents Council for Technology (ACT). This article is adapted from the ACT article “E-Signatures for Carriers.”